Bench-Bar Relations

Henry I. Willett, Chair

The Bench-Bar Relations Committee met on the following dates at the following locations:

September 15, 2016 – Virginia State Bar, Richmond

January 26, 2017 – Virginia State Bar, Richmond

March 23, 2017 – Virginia State Bar, Richmond

May 24, 2017 - Virginia State Bar, Richmond

Various members of the committee also participated in sub-committee meetings in connection with the FY2017 regional bench-bar programs. 

The committee has focused the last several years on two major initiatives:  regional bench-bar conferences and issues created by the Judicial Evaluation Program utilized by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

The regional bench-bar conferences was the brainchild of VSB Past-President W. David Harless.  The regional programs have had strong support from the local benches, the local bar associations, and members of the bar, both in planning and participation of each event.  Each conference has sought to tailor the programming to the needs of the targeted regions.  Each has sought and received support and input from local bench and bar members.  And each has been successful in bringing together large numbers of participants from the targeted region to provide a high-quality, live CLE opportunity in areas where such programs are difficult to find.

To date, the VSB supported bench-bar programs have been held in the following locations:

                        Abingdon                    April 2013

                        Danville                       March 2014

                        Harrisonburg               June 2015

                        Fredericksburg            May 2016

                        Emporia                       October 2016

These programs were held in conjunction with Solo & Small Firm Forums hosted by the VSB Conference of Local Bar Association.

In the subsequent year after the initial VSB supported bench-bar program, these jurisdictions have held their own bench bar conferences with assistance from the VSB Bench-Bar Relations Committee and the VSB Conference of Local Bars Association, but without VSB financial support.  In the third year, the jurisdictions are expected to carry on the program on their own. 

The committee continues to focus on opportunities for regional bench-bar conference in areas that do not have access to live CLE presentations and contributing to programs put on by the Conference of Local Bar Associations.  Additionally, the committee is looking at other opportunities for enhancing the relationship between the bench and bar. 

Henry Willett of Richmond will continue to serve as chair in FY2018.  

Updated: Jul 14, 2017